Something that has troubled me for a long time is how society looks at Christians. Most people hear that word and cringe. It’s almost like a disease. Now, I understand that as Christians we are going to be hated by the world. Jesus explained that quite clearly in the New Testament. I can live with that. Being hated for the right reasons. What I don’t like is people hating Christians because of, well, to put it simply, some Christians. Those who believe that they have it all together and their poo stopped stinking a long time ago.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I stink. I am a complete and utter failure if I’m measured on the “living good” scale. Out of a hundred, I might rank somewhere in the lower twenties. Sure, I work with inner city kids, help feed the hungry, house the homeless, and care for orphans. That doesn’t make me a good person. Like I wrote in a comment on a great friend’s blog: I am nothing more than an undeserving beggar lying prone at the feet of Jesus. If we were being honest with ourselves, and the rest of society, we would all say those very same words.
The truth is that the Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short. I could rescue twenty children from a burning school, but if I don’t have Christ, I’m nothing. I’m no better than the gang banger dealing drugs in a dark alley on the east side of Charlotte. My sin isn’t any less destructive than the prostitute out on the street corner. God doesn’t measure our sin on a scale. He doesn’t sit in Heaven and say “Well, Joe only told a white lie, his sin isn’t as bad as that guy who murdered the convenience store clerk.” Sin is sin. We were born into a no-win situation. That is, until a man came along who walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, and eventually bore all of our sin on His own shoulders.
This problem with a “holier than thou” attitude that some Christians walk around with is extremely disheartening. It doesn’t ignite the interest of someone who has never heard of Jesus. It doesn’t spark a desire or longing to learn more about God. It completely turns people off. Not only to that particular person, but to the body of Christ as a whole. If you’re trying to witness to a sinner at arm’s length, you might as well walk away. It’s not going to work.
Jesus was a trouble maker. He endlessly came up against rigid opposition from the religious leaders of that era. They only knew one thing. Follow the Law of Moses to the letter, no matter what. If someone broke a law, they were to be put to death. Jesus walked in and completely rocked their strict and lifeless world by demonstrating a love that is more powerful than regulations and traditions.
The Pharisees stood far away in their fancy robes, bellowing out scholarly prayers and performing rituals that had been passed down through the ages. Jesus embraced the leper, the lame, the blind, the demon possessed and loved them to life. He healed on the Sabbath. He forgave a woman caught in adultery. He broke bread with tax collectors and sinners. He knew what it meant to love people in their worst state, at the lowest point in their life. Jesus ran with open arms to the very ones whom the rest of society turned their backs on.
A relationship is up close and personal. It takes intentional effort in order to make it work. If we are going to reach the lost, we have to realize we are no better than anyone else. We have to stop protesting everything on the planet. Stop judging others because they drink beer and smoke cigarettes. Quit getting all worked up and sending out petitions because you found out the guys who make your favorite ice cream are gay. Why do we think, just because we label ourselves Christians, that we have all the answers?
Does society even know what we believe in? They mostly see the stuff we are against. Let’s start showing them Jesus by climbing down off our soap boxes, admitting we are broken people, just like everyone else, and just love others. Don’t try and shove the Gospel down their throats from a distance. Show them who Jesus is with our love and compassion.
No one wants to hear a message about that guy who sacrificed His life for all of mankind, from someone looking down their nose.
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Have a blessed day.